A CHRISTIAN FIRST. A CHRISTIAN ALWAYS.
By the time many read this, one of the most divisive and polemical American elections in history will be over.
Canadians and those in other countries watch with interest the direction America will take, since it enjoys a dominant place in the western world, and the world as a whole. It is also tempting for many of us - Orthodox Christians included - to take a deep and active interest in the issues debated and discussed in such an election, and we should. A faithful life demands we be concerned about our neighbours, and that we follow the path of the many saints who lived in the world and influenced it for the good.
Yet if we are honest, we must admit that our spiritual strength to affect the world for the better is too often limited. We are selfish, we seek to lay blame on our enemies, and we all too easily categorize people, denying even the hope of salvation in Christ to those not on our side.
Before we take any action, before we speak any words, before we even draw conclusions in our mind, it is vital for each of us to place the Christian life at the centre of our life and daily schedule. No one can hope to speak faithfully if he does not learn from the words of the Psalms, by reading them prayerfully. No one can hope to know the mind of the saints if he has not read their lives and words. No one can hope to behave like a true Christian if he has not beheld and examined the saints in their own lives - something we can often do only through books. And no one can hope to maintain in their heart the Peace of Christ which passes all understanding, if that peace is constantly disrupted by the noise of worldly issues.
Orthodox Christians have a great deal to offer the world. First and foremost, the offering must be the gift of greatest value: the Gospel of Christ, seen in a faithful life.